Diecast #48: Chex Quest, Garden Warfare

By Shamus
on Mar 12, 2014
Filed under:
Diecast

129 comments

Due to some recent changes, it’s harder than ever to get the whole crew together for our weekly recording sessions. Our various job situations are changing, making it harder for us to find windows of mutual availability. I don’t know what this means, long-term. We’ll do what we can.


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Hosts: Josh, Chris, and Shamus.

Show notes:

3:00 Shamus is playing Rise of the Triad

For those of you you’ve never heard of it before, this is Catacombs of the Abyss:

cat3d.jpg

It pre-dates Wolfenstein, and is one of many games that competes for the murky title of “first FPS”.

7:00 Shamus is also playing Puzzle Quest: Galactrix

In this segment we went off-topic and talked about oddball product tie-in games. I mentioned Chase the Chuckwagon. That’s a real game that’s a dog food product tie-in from 1983. My friend David had a copy. Even though we were kids and the videogame industry was in its infancy, we were still able to recognize that the existence of the game was inherently preposterous.

Also mentioned: Avoid the Noid.

I’d never heard of Chex Quest until now.

14:30 Chris is playing Assassins Creed: Freedom Cry

22:30 Chris is playing Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare.

31:30 Josh shares a Project Zomboid anecdote.

39:00 MAIL TIME!

And yes, we answer several questions this week. These are good ones. Remember to send your questions in for next week. (Email in the banner at the top.)

TRIGGER WARNING: We discuss rare vs well-done steak, which to some people is a religious topic. For some reason.

Enjoyed this post? Please share!

Footnotes:


A Hundred!209There are 129 comments here. I really hope you like reading.

From the Archives:

  1. Maybe some segments could be pre-recorded or done interview-style. For example, the “what are you playing” bit could be an off-the-cuff thing that a cast member sends in to Josh/Shamus/the editor. Alternately, whoever the host is for a week can have an individual banter session with someone who can’t make it to the main show recording.

    • rofltehcat says:

      I think pre-recorded solo might end up a bit awkward but if they can only get together a part of the crew at the specified time, they could do that part at another time when only 2-3 of them are available and then cut those parts together.
      There is normally a cut anyways (“alright, so what did Shamus play this week?”) and especially during this part some are more active than others anyways.

      This would also allow for a little coordination. So they could say in their forum/facebook group/whatever “This week I played XYZ” and then the ones most interested in that game could say if they’d want to join in on that and arrange a time for it. It’d probably be less improvised because they’d have time to think about it in advance but I’m sure it’d be just as interesting.

    • Humanoid says:

      If they’re short of bodies I rather see if they can’t get some returning guest hosts (Hi Jarenth) back, though not sure how compatible their hours would be.

      • sab says:

        Since Jarenth is Dutch (I can tell by his horrible accent (because I have the same horrible accent)), their sunday evening would be his monday night/morning. That doesn’t sound too compatible to me.

  2. Nick Pitino says:

    Chex Quest, holy crap. I remember playing that many many moons ago after my brother fished the CD out of the box and decided it didn’t interest him.

    It actually wasn’t bad for being what it was.

    I…might actually still have it buried in the bottom of a storage unit.

    PS:

    Rare, I want it to moo when I stab it.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      Yeah, Chex Quest was really good. The sequels weren’t too bad either. That spork… so OP.
      My brothers and friends were just at that age where our parent’s wouldn’t let us play DOOM or Wolfenstein, so we got our early 90s FPS fix off of Chex Quest. In fact, it’s probably one of the defining pieces of the genere for me. A surprisingly solid experience from a sector that almost exclusively produces shovel-ware.

      • Rosseloh says:

        That was exactly my situation – had I even known DOOM or Wolfenstein or RotT existed, my parents wouldn’t have let me touch them. So it was Chex Quest for me until Lego Island came out.

        It’s what got me into map design. My parents may still have a notebook full of map layouts that I came up with for “games similar to Chex Quest but with the coolest stuff a 7 year old can come up with”.

      • Humanoid says:

        I remember watching a friend play through it on the year of its release. I wouldn’t have been ten yet at that point, but I remember being not interested in ever playing it myself. More than twenty years on I still regard the FPS genre in the same way.

      • Epopisces says:

        Chex Quest is AWESOME. My brother and I played it repeatedly for quite some time as kids, and it’s up there on the list of top ten games of my childhood. I had no idea until a few years ago that it was just a dressed up version of Doom lol.

    • guy says:

      Ah, Chex Quest. The only FPS I played for a long, long time. It was pretty good.

    • Bryan says:

      Chex Quest, *and* Catacomb Abyss!

      I played the latter first, Wolfenstein second, Descent third, the former fourth, and Doom fifth. (And Descent 3 was like twentieth, where I had already made the numpad -> WASD transition that Shamus had issues with in his past, since it had been so long between Descent and HL1, so when I got Descent 3, I made WASD work for it as well. Adding Q/Z for going up/down, and R/T for rolling sideways, seemed to work pretty well with mouselook. Anyway…)

    • I found the term of art for this sort of thing: “Advergaming.”

      Also, I didn’t know that there was once a game made to push Skittles.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        My personal favourite game of this kind was probably Zool (and, I guess Zool 2?), it was promoting the Chupa Chups lolipops but it actually made for a really nice and smooth platformer.

    • Holy crap, I remember Chex Quest too! IIRC, you had to zap green blob dudes into another dimension or something.

      Too bad I was really young at the time. The green dudes scared me and I stopped playing.

  3. Thearpox says:

    “Due to some recent changes, it’s harder than ever to get the whole crew together for our weekly recording sessions.”

    Sooo… will there be Spoiler Warning this week? And if yes, does it mean Mumbles and Rutscarn are not going to be there? [Wasn’t sure if by recording you meant specifically Diecast.]

    PS: Three co-hosts isn’t too bad for a podcast. Not that I don’t miss those missing.

    • Eathanu says:

      I actually haven’t listened to or watched anything relating to this podcast or Spoiler Warning since it started being more than three people. In my opinion, from the limited amount I’ve tried to watch, the quality to watch just plummets with each additional person, no matter who it is. I’m sure it’s a lot more fun to record, though, so I understand why it’s done this way.

      Just saying, Shamus, if you guys have to start recording Spoiler Warning et al. with a cast consisting of “who is available today?” it wouldn’t be the worst thing. It might even make it watchable for me again!

      Edit: Also steak is well-done when it’s well-done. Rare steak is gross and I declare jihad on anyone who disagrees.

    • Humanoid says:

      Reckon some one-off or limited-run specials would go down well in weeks like this, time permitting of course. Some of the most memorable SW episodes occur during in-season intermissions.

  4. Hitch says:

    Serious note: Chris kept talking about asynchronous gameplay in Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, but I’m pretty sure he meant asymmetrical.

    That out of the way, I’m pretty sure the vigilante name you were looking for is the PUNisher.

    Please don’t ask about pizza. I don’t want Shamus explaining that the only interesting pizza place near him is the Pizza King next door to Burger Hut 2.

    • Chris says:

      Serious note: Chris kept talking about asynchronous gameplay in Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, but I’m pretty sure he meant asymmetrical.

      That would be 100% correct. I don’t know why on earth I was saying asynchronous.

    • ET says:

      I was actually hoping the cast would get more into the asymmetrical gameplay thing.
      Like, symmetric vs asymmetric units/sides in RTSs is a pet peeve of mine.
      The two main ways games usually pull aggro from me:
      1. All (or some large portion) of units are identical in stats and mechanics, but have different names and skins, so as to completely confuse new players, and people who don’t want to memorize this junk. See: Basic resource structures in Supreme Commander.
      2. Zero units are shared between any faction, so it’s a nightmare to balance, and the game is broken like crazy. See: original SC zerg-rushing.
      I wish more RTSs were kind of in-between.
      (See: Dune 2, CnC: Red Alert)
      Not just because it would make the game slightly easier to balance and easier for new players to learn, but because it makes more sense for the story.
      Like, in Red Alert (#1, not the sequels), it felt like these two factions were some recently-parted allies, who had been sharing technology.
      (Same factory buildings*, same power plants, same refinieries, etc.)
      So, trading between their countries, sharing (some) technologies, and then whammo they’re at war, and suddenly you start getting some differences between the sides.

      * OK, technically the war factories spit out different units, but they shared the graphic and hitpoint values, and produced one or two shared units, like the harvesters, and I think the medium tank.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      I suggest Chris bestow on himself the title “Executive Coordinator of Pun Obviation” (no pun intended)

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Chris,the title you are looking for is pun police.

  6. General Karthos says:

    I’ve had some terrific fun with Project Zomboid, though I don’t have access to the multiplayer yet, given that I’m using a Mac. So… waiting for the new build, but I have a lot of hope for the multiplayer now that many of us have spent weeks, months, or years dying again and again. (Having died so many times, you appreciate other folks being around to help.)

  7. krellen says:

    Best burgers in North America: Blake’s Lotaburger, in New Mexico.

    • Since we’re talking best burgers ever, let me throw out a setup for some amazing hamburgers that sadly doesn’t exist anymore, but would be an awesome idea if a small, probably rural, grocery store needs an income boost.

      In the town where I spent most of my formative years, there was this small mom & pop store that largely stayed in business by having a delivery service (we had a lot of senior citizens). They also had a meat counter that got its wares from local cattle and hog farms. They’d have fresh-made sausage for a limited time during slaughter season, and it’d be completely gone in about an hour.

      Anyway, someone had the idea to serve burgers and fries from the meat counter, and they were FANTASTIC. The beef was about as fresh as you could get, the patties were huge, and even if you just ate it plain on a bun, they were heaven. I wish I knew some place similar to that, but I don’t know if that sort of setup even exists anywhere.

    • Funklewrinkler says:

      On topic, but not about my favorite burger joint actually, the regional fast food place Chris, Shamus, and Josh were thinking of whose fanbase seems to be in constant dispute with In-N-Out’s fanbase is Take Out; Five Guys, while not very prolific, does extend a little further than Take Out. I don’t know if anyone else said this yet, so here it is.

  8. Khizan says:

    How is rare versus well-done even a question?

    Rare vs Medium-Rare is a legit question. I’ll even go so far as to grant some legitimacy to Medium.

    But “Rare versus Well-Done” is comparing a juicy delicious steak to boot leather. Why are you even spending money on steak if you want it well done? Just go buy beef jerky.

    (I’m a medium-rare man, myself)

    • Disc says:

      You’d be surprised how wildly the standards can differ between countries and cultures. Having ordered a medium steak at a French restaurant in Paris, I was greeted by a piece of meat cooked on the surface, but almost all red and orange in the middle.

      Let’s just say that it wasn’t good.

      The “Finnish medium” at least looks cooked in the middle, but still isn’t too chewy and has some juices left.

      • aldowyn says:

        what I’ve heard is rare is red all the way through, medium is pink all the way through, and well-done is just brown. Obviously medium-rare and medium-well are somewhere in between.

        (medium to medium-rare myself)

    • Trix2000 says:

      What if I happen to like jerky and boot leather? What then?!?

      Sliiiiightly more seriously, I like my meat to be definitely dead… but usually I go medium/medium well. A little pink is fine, but too much makes me sad.

    • Mephane says:

      I prefer my soy steaks crisp, which is probably the equivalent of well-done. Pure tofu steaks, even if with sufficient spicing, still taste a bit bland and they never achieve a satisfying consistency, that’s why I have tofu rather as a part of more juicy dishes, for example inside lasagne. Seitan is somewhere in the middle between the two, it can be done somewhat crispy but the pieces must be cut thin or you’d end up with a crisp surface and a leathery interior.

      Another favourite of mine are unripe spelt grain burgers (why doesn’t English have a less awkward wording for that?). Combine them with iceberg lettuce in fresh baked rolls (not those cardboard… things they use in many fast food chains), as a condiment I suggest a fresh remoulade with herbs, but if unavailable regular ketchup will do, too.

      Disclaimer: this post is not satire, consider this my official coming out as a vegan on this blog. XD

  9. Jeff R. says:

    Take Sim City and give it to Paradox.

  10. ehlijen says:

    Thanks for answering :)

    I was actually thinking mostly of indies when I asked, but it’s true that the spoiler warning format only really works for long games with varied screen contents, ie from a certain budget point upwards.

    Too bad about no free games, but at least you aren’t ever pushed to pick a game to show that you wouldn’t want to play.

  11. imtoolazy says:

    Did Shamus spoil the ending of Spec Ops in his poker bit?

    I wanna know, but I also don’t wanna know.

  12. hborrgg says:

    In dayz SA right now loot and zombies only respawn when the server resets (around every 4 hours depending on the server). The experimental build though has added zombie respawn and the game definitely is quite a bit harder. The zombies in experimental right now are extremely hard to melee without taking damage, are far more likely to make you bleed, and food seems to be much, much rarer for some reason.

  13. Paul Spooner says:

    About giving GTA to Ubisoft: The first thing I thought of was that some cars are traps. They don’t kill you or anything. Instead they have a VR setup inside the car, when you try to steal the car it just makes you feel like you’re driving it until the cops arrive. Perhaps there could be slight graphical glitches, or reduced resolution, to indicate that the car you’ve “stolen” has actually stolen you!

    Since we’re on the topic of different degrees of food cooking… With modern food processing and sanitation, foods are usually pretty safe to eat raw. For example, I cracks raw eggs into my mouth and swallow them whole. Never gotten sick from it, and I’ve done this for years now. Raw steak is good too… I haven’t tried it with chicken or pork yet though. Oh, and raw fish of course, sushi is great.

    I don’t know about Five Guys being on the east. I live up in Seattle area, and there are multiple Five Guys and no In-N-Out. My impression is that In-N-Out is “southwest” and Five Guys is everywhere else.

    • False Prophet says:

      Yeah, I’m in southern Ontario, Canada, and my city has two Five Guys locations that I frequent fairly often. But the only time I’ve been to In-N-Out was when I was visiting San Francisco.

      We also have a few Canadian gourmet burger chains like Union Burger and Hero Burgers, but my favourite is The Works, a chain focused mainly on Toronto and places an hour or two out. I can take my wheat-allergic girlfriend and her vegan family there without issues.

  14. I want Skyrim’s leveling system in Oblivion (oh, and the way the world levels too). Is there a mod for that?

    Also, would totally kill for an open-world Skyrim style game of the oceans (fantasy, steampunk, or sci-fi). Imagine dungeon-diving (literally) then going topside to fighting pirates on shipboard. Would be awesome.

    Steak should moo. In fact, I’m a firm believer in all beef should moo, but that’s because I dislike the taste of well-cooked beef. Best burger I’d give to Ted’s Montana Grill for their bison burgers (if you’ve never had bison it tastes rarer than beef to me but many others can’t tell the difference)

    Can we give Obsidian Valve’s Q&A after we give them all of Beth’s products? Then we might end up with awesome open worlds and less bugs!

    • rofltehcat says:

      I don’t know how fun under water combat would be.
      There is a lot of under water combat in Guild Wars 2 (also has some interesting steampunk/arcanepunk aspects) for example, but the whole thing feels very “floaty”. You’re really just “hovering” around.

      I think for good under water combat something like Aquanox or that one space flight game that partially inspired Shamus for Good Robot (the one with transforming between super battle and mobility mode) would be better combat systems.
      For the three dimensional movement and the floating in the water to feel great there really needs to be different movement modes.

      What I’d really like would be a water-based stealth game. Active/passive sonar, splashy noises while swimming, diving (limited time) to escape line of sight etc. make a lot of game mechanics possible.

      • Peter H. Coffin says:

        If you’ve got magic buoyancy control, floaty’s pretty much how movement’s gonna be… If you don’t, maneuvering below the surface at all is going to be a major trick.

      • Zagzag says:

        I’ll second Guild Wars 2’s underwater combat not being that great, though that’s largely down to the fact that having weapon skills be different underwater when your build is based around your regular weapons usually leads to you not doing anything nearly as well as you would on land. (Unless you use grenades. Apparently those are much much more effective underwater, which actually kind of makes sense in a world where you aren’t damaged by your own explosives.)

    • Hal says:

      Have you played Wind Waker? That might scratch your itch for an open world ocean game.

  15. Jesus, Catacombs of the Abyss…that takes me back. My dad is the one who actually owned that game and it was the very first FPS I’d ever seen. By the time Wolfenstien and Doom had come out, I’d completely forgotten about it…mostly because we’d always called it just Abyss.

  16. harborpirate says:

    Shamus apparently lives in fast-food-pocalypse, USA.

    In-N-Out gets my vote as best fast food burger place in North America. I love the secret menu options, I love that they only sell burgers, fries, and shakes (no chicken, fish, etc), I love that the fries arrive at the store as actual potatoes.

    In Phoenix, we have both In-N-Out and Five Guys. I prefer the former, but honestly I’ll eat at either one of them any day of the week if somebody asked me.

    • Shamus says:

      No In-n-Out, Sonic, White Castle, Five Guys, Chick-fil-A, Roy Rogers, Jack in the Box, Carl’s Jr.

      Never set foot in any of these places, either.

      • Alex says:

        I know it’s a Colorado thing, but if for whatever reason you are ever in Colorado try Good Times. Best fast food burgers EVER! Smash Burger is good too(started as a Colorado thing but it’s expanding), but it’s kind of a cross between sit down and fast food.

        • harborpirate says:

          Opening the question up to include Fast Casual restaraunts like Fuddruckers, Red Robin, and the like makes the decision more difficult.

          I do like that at Fuddruckers I can get elk or bison, both of which I prefer to beef.

          Oh, and if we’re going hipster and including “you’ve never heard of it” places: Bert and Ernie’s, Great Falls, MT.
          I rarely order burgers at a sit-down restaraunt; usually I do it only as a last resort if everything looks terrible and I don’t trust the staff to make anything more complicated than a burger. But Bert and Ernie’s is one of the very rare places that has burgers so good, I get one every time I’m there even though they have lots of other great food.

      • Jeff R. says:

        Tell me you at least have a Fudruckers, then…

        (Which is the second best burger I’ve had, next to Phyllis’ Giant Burger.)

      • Gravebound says:

        I was going to recommend Braum’s as the best fast food burger place, but it looks like most of them are in Oklahoma and Texas so most people probably haven’t even heard of them.

        A more ‘restaurant’ type eatery that is also good is Texas Roadhouse (and there is one in Butler, PA) which is burgers and steaks (medium rare, please :P) but I couldn’t tell you if it tastes fantastic because the restaurant chain or because I live in Texas, the steak capital of the world where you really have to work hard to find a bad steak.

    • I like 5 guys, but for larger cities, there’s often more local places to get a really good burger.

      One place here in KC that’s not only good, it’s reasonably priced, and the only downside is it’s crowded most of the time: Fritz’s Union Station. On that page is a video of the amazingly cool burger delivery system they have. There are also lots of model trains that go past “windows” in the wall. It’s really awesome, when you can get a seat.

      As for the whole “franchise vs. two locations” deal, I don’t think the tax thing is much of a factor, or you wouldn’t ever get one (the real hit sounds like what a lot of corporations charge in up-front costs and cash on hand to even OPEN a franchise location). What might be the case if it’s a smaller 2+ location “chain” is what happened to a LOT of BBQ places here in Kansas City. Basically, a family founds a restaurant. It does incredibly well. More locations are opened. Family members run these new locations. Something causes a family fallout, and there’s a fight over who owns the chain. In the settlement, you get something like all the restaurants are separately owned but named the same thing but with a number behind them, or you get weird variants. Like, say the original was “Smokey House BBQ.” One place might be “Original Smokey House,” another becomes “Smokin’ Joe’s House,” and so forth.

    • Humanoid says:

      Up until I looked it up just now, I had always assumed a cheesesteak was just a steak with melted cheese on top, just like how a Parma is just a schnitzel with cheese on top. I mean, I’ve seen it reference in games like The Sims, but it’s not until the revelation in this Diecast that it’s an obscure regional food that I was motivated enough to research.

      I don’t have much to contribute on the burger front, as Australia in general is a wasteland for fast food chains. I will observe that Burger King operates as Hungry Jack’s here for obscure historical reasons. Also, Wendy’s is a large ice-cream chain here, no relation to the US chain.

      P.S. Medium rare

    • McNutcase says:

      We have a Five Guys near here, and it’s usually half-empty. We also have an In-N-Out, which has three times the seating and is CONSTANTLY jampacked. We daren’t go there unless it’s at least two hours since a “mealtime rush”. This is despite the Five Guys being right across the street from a cinema, with much easier parking than In-N-Out. And that’s without considering the fact that In-N-Out has a drive-thru, which nobody sane goes to.

      My preference should be clear from the fact that I have to spend five minutes considering the menu at Five Guys, whereas with In-N-Out I already know exactly what I’m going to order – the only question is whether I’m going to get a milkshake or not. Aside from that, it’s memorised: “Double-single, only spread, lettuce, and grilled onions, protein-style, fries, and a drink.” The drink is pretty much always their lemonade, because it’s REALLY good.

      As for local places, there’s a brewpub near here that does the most decadent cheeseburger I’ve ever had. Half a pound of beef, good bacon that’s cut thick so it’s properly chewy (another religious war; bacon should not be able to take an edge!), mustard made with beer instead of vinegar, grilled onions, and the cheese is Brie. It’s spendy, but seriously worth it. If you ever find yourself in Concord, California and craving a burger, go to E. J. Phair and ask for a Ewart. It’s almost twelve dollars, and you’ll be glad to pay for it. If you want a beer to go with it, their Shorty’s Revenge is ideal.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      Well, maybe there’s no good fast-food… but there’s at least ground beef bread, and vegtables! Especially for someone who “never leaves the house” it’s going to be more convenient to make burgers at home anyway. You’re not going to get a better burger than one you custom made for yourself.

      I enjoy In-N-Out and Five Guys as well, but better than both is a home-made meal, eaten at home.

      Also, “Burger Hut 12000” sounds like some sort of autonomous fast-food robot.

  17. In case it wasn’t touched on earlier, here’s the latest trailer from the TES Restoration Project, “The Road Most Traveled.” AKA “The Skywind Project,” it shows off the work done to put Morrowind into the Skyrim engine.

    • ET says:

      Looking good so far, although I’m not seeing any dust.
      Seriously, wasn’t the dust part of the lore/setting/feel? :)

      Semi-non-related: Does anyone know how much they’re modifying the underlying scripts/engine/data structures (if it’s even possible; I have no clue) to make the game?
      From what Rutskarn was saying in a SW episode, and the clunky interface I witnessed from the official how-to video from the devs, the tools for adding content to Skyrim (and possibly the underlying engine) are in dire need of an overhaul, unless you want to spend 50X the time you should, just trying to get your content into the game’s weird systems.

      • Humanoid says:

        Dust is just brown snow, no?

        But as for the difficulties with the toolkit, I think the larger, existing and complete mods, notably Falskaar*, kind of show that spending that kind of tine, inefficient as it is, doesn’t seem to be a significant deterrent to the sufficiently motivated/obsessive fan.

        *Never played it myself, but from the looks of it, if that kind of thing is possible then it’s essentially possible to make any game you like using the provided tools and sufficient time.

      • If it’s like the GECK screenshots I’ve seen, doesn’t it look like someone has strung yarn all over the place? I got the impression that the items and NPCs become this giant causality chain, which is why these games are so difficult to make work properly (and how you can get really oddball behavior out of the AI). It literally looked like a big ball of timey-wimey stuff.

        • Humanoid says:

          Yeah, I’ve messed around with it once, to add a few additional fast travel points to New Vegas (Contreras’ shack, Central Freeside gate, the far side of The Strip). Even though it was just a matter of literally placing three objects in the world and setting a couple flags for each …never again.

  18. IFS says:

    Chris, to reference the Unofficial Elder Scrolls pages (a fairly comprehensive ES wiki) Elsweyr contains both desert and forest.

    “The northern part of Elsweyr contains arid badlands; the southern part is a lush sub-tropical environment with many forests. Only a few cities have been established, and most of the settlements are small villages.”

    http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Elsweyr#Geography

    So I guess you can feel partially vindicated now :P

    • Destrustor says:

      Also, Valenwood is also supposed to be a huge jungle/forest, with typical fantasy 500-foot trees and such. Also moving trees with cities built in/on them.

    • syal says:

      I’m holding out hope there’s at least one Elsweyr city in the trees that was founded when a bunch of Khajiit climbed up a tree and couldn’t get back down.

  19. Amstrad says:

    Huh, I didn’t know Josh was a former WNY resident. I can affirm that Lockport is pretty bad in terms of chain restaurant variety, at least as bad as any of the other Buffalo suburbs and outlying rural areas. The city itself is getting a bit better though, it even got one of the mentioned Five Guys a year or two ago.

    That said, chain restaurants are really the lowest denominator for food locally, there are more than enough locally run establishments that serve vastly better food.

  20. Nidokoenig says:

    A guy I work with said something recently about going to a Five Guys in London. But I don’t generally eat burgers from nice joints, just the usual Burger King stuff once in a while, though a travelling market thing in Welwyn Garden recently has a nice exotic burger stall. Loved the zebra burger with curry seasoning, leaner than beef and very slightly sweet.

    Very much in favour of cooking meat as little as possible, if I want something that tastes vaguely of the meat it’s made from, I might as well have a tofu substitute, the flavour of well-done just isn’t worth killing something over.

    I remember playing a fair bit of Puzzle Quest: Galactrix a few years ago. I think I stopped when being able to beat gate security started to feel like it was luck-based, that it’d either be doable and boringly easy or I’d be utterly boned based on which tiles spawned, which kills a lot of puzzle games for me. Whatever happened to fixed drop patterns like in Puyo Puyo?

  21. Humanoid says:

    The Diecast curse: as soon as you discuss a news item, new information comes out in the time between recording and publishing to render that news outdated and irrelevant. This week’s instalment: Witcher 3 delayed to February 2015.

    Probably has knock-on effects on Cyberpunk 2077 too.

  22. Neko says:

    Personally, I don’t mind if you can’t get everyone together each time. I haven’t been able to play D&D with my friends in a little under a year because it’s becoming impossible to corral 6 people with adult schedules around a table for 5 hours.

    Would smaller but more frequent discussions work? i.e. diecast49.ogg is Josh, Shamus, Rutskarn; diecast50.ogg is Shamus, Chris, Mumbles, diecast51.ogg is Josh, Rutskarn, Chris, or whoever is available? I guess the worry with that format is you’d have too much overlap of topics, maybe Shamus doesn’t have much to add in #50 because he talked about what he was doing that week in #49, maybe you don’t want to go over the SimCity Disaster Of The Week again because some of the cast already covered that…

    It’s tricky. Do what you have to do, we’ll all be happy with whatever you can put out.

    • Humanoid says:

      Then perhaps Tabletop Simulator is the product for you!

    • Chris says:

      The Diecast is pretty easy peasy because it’s so ad hoc. We can record it with whoever is here, and figure out an agenda on the fly based on games, news stories, mailbag questions, whatever. Really, the goal of the podcast was to capture some of the funny/enjoyable stuff we’d say warming up for Spoiler Warning when talking about random news/games/etc, and that can happen with any/all of us.

      Spoiler Warning is different, though, because of the format of the show. The whole point of the long-form Let’s Play format is to allow us to look at every single bit of the game we want to talk about – every dumb plot twist, every silly quest or level that goes nowhere, every really cool character moment, and every sublime piece of design that gives depth to the story in ways only games can. And that’s really neat because unlike a shorter Let’s Play series that may only look at a few hours’ worth of content or whatever, Spoiler Warning lets us get up close and personal with those moments we want to talk about (and laugh at Josh or talk about cheeseburgers during moments we don’t have much to say on).

      But while that’s really neat it also means that the time to talk about, say, the Thieves’ Guild quest is when we’re doing the Thieves’ Guild quest. So if someone (say, Shamus) is absent for the day we plan on doing that he might miss out on the one thing he really really wants to talk about. And if we’re going to talk about the Thieves’ Guild Quest whenever, regardless of what we’re doing that week in-game, then we might as well go to a shorter form Let’s Play that lets us cover more (and more varied) games.

      Skyrim’s kinda unique in this case – it lets us sort of cherry pick our quests each week. But in more linear games that’s definitely impossible, and someone may be absent during the one plot point they’ve sat through watching someone else play a videogame for 10 hours just to talk about. And that’s not fair to them. So when we get into Vent and one or two people don’t show up there’s this question of: “Do we push on without them and maybe skip things they want to cover, or do we wait?” And it’s a hard question to answer a lot of the time.

      • syal says:

        Well, as long as you’re hosting it here, and assuming everyone’s already played the game, you can partially mitigate that by having the absent people writing the posts. If Mumbles is absent and misses her chance to comment on how much a Skyrim bear is like Batman and do a side-by-side comparison of how many dragons they’ve both killed, well, there’s an entire wall of text available to hammer out the finer points after the fact.

        • Humanoid says:

          Should’ve just released that Project Zomboid session as an special. :D

        • Doomcat says:

          That idea is pretty good, there is a problem though; not all people subscribed to the spoiler warning channel necessarily come on Shamus’s site all the time.

          Case in point being me, I recently changed my ways finding out that there was more SW content if I read twenty-sided, however, before that I would just watch SW whenever I Saw it in my subscription box, missing the show notes entirely.

          • syal says:

            They could add something like “Rutskarn couldn’t make it; to read his thoughts, look beneath the video” at the beginning of the video, and make a link over here below the Youtube video.

            • Phantos says:

              Alternatively, they could make up goofy reasons for why show members aren’t there that week.

              “Rustkarn couldn’t be here, this week. He had to have an operation on his butt.”

              “Chris couldn’t be here this week. He’s speaking at the national Brony convention.”

              “Mumbles couldn’t be here because she has to fix the farmer’s marriage before she can make the leap home.

        • Dude says:

          I’m with this.

          I’m one of those people who loves it when all five of you’re hosting together, but if it’s nigh impossible to keep the whole gang present each week, I’d say as long as three hosts are around, go for it, at least for Spoiler Warning. If you end up covering topics the other hosts miss out on, then they can cover it in a post, or that week’s diecast, or whenever they’re on the show next.

    • False Prophet says:

      Roll20 is an online app that allows a group to play tabletop games through Google Hangouts. Haven’t really used it myself, but I know some people manage to run campaigns through it. Doesn’t cost anything to try it out.

  23. SyrusRayne says:

    Josh’s Zomboid anecdote mirrors, almost word for word, my own online shenanigans. Same warehouse. Same microwave. The difference being we were trying to microwave an egg. Do not try to cook eggs; Do not EVER try to cook eggs. Down that road lies death.

  24. Wulfgar says:

    Take Total War series from CA and give it to Paradox.

    PS can you upload Diecast to Youtube?

  25. Greg says:

    Even recognizing that Morrowind is at the same latitude as Skyrim doesn’t inherently mean that it would be a fire and ice world (though that does sound super awesome). By latitude, the southernmost tip of Great Britain is further north than Nova Scotia but much warmer with hardly any snow.

  26. Hal says:

    Speaking of weird product tie-in video games, one of my friends had Cool Spot for the SNES, and that was actually a decent platformer.

    There’s definitely been some weird ones.

  27. abs1nth says:

    You actually couldn’t sell back stolen items to the person you stole it from in Morrowind. You could sell it back to anyone but that person. I think an interesting approach may be to make everyone in the city you stole it from recognize it as stolen but allow you to sell it in any other city. I think it also would be cool if guards of that city recognized a stolen item if you equipped it.

    You’d have to redesign fences in that case though. But they still might be able to remove the stolen tag completely. I think Bethesda mainly implemented that change to nerf stealing. Because fences also give you worse prices and aren’t readily available.

    • IFS says:

      Of course with fast travel that solution becomes broken as well because the players are only about one or two loading screens out from a town across the world where the item can be sold freely. I’d still prefer Morrowinds solution over what we got of course, but I think part of why it worked so well in Morrowind was that fast travel was more limited (something I actually preferred, in part because it made getting your own teleport spells, and figuring out the best ways to move around the world quite rewarding).

  28. Henson says:

    Although Oblivion certainly deserves to be pounded down for being bland/uninteresting/generic, I feel that most people are mistaking the reason why that is. The DieCast crew bemoans Oblivion for its setting, for its Classic Europe environments, compares Morrowind as a positive example for its strange giant mushrooms, and wishes for a Cyrodiil that remained its original jungle; the understanding is that Oblivion is boring because it’s like Europe, and Josh has even said as much in a previous DieCast.

    I disagree. The problem is more subtle than that. After all, take Flotsam from Witcher 2: its a well-worn marsh-and-forest environment, but it doesn’t feel bland at all (it’s actually fantastically designed). The problem is not the biome itself. Nor is the problem one of variation, as Oblivion had many different types of areas: the lush forests of the Imperial City, the swamps of Leyawiin, the grassy plains around Anvil, the cold hills of Bruma. Really, Skyrim doesn’t have much more variation in eco-types than its predecessor.

    The problem is one of environmental design. Oblivion is boring because the forest is all the same, the hills are all the same; there’s no careful crafting of the details of each location. It’s as if the designers painted “Forest” in broad strokes over the canvas of Cyrodiil without considering all the details (this is a common problem in the field of acting, too: amateur actors paint ‘sadness’ over a monologue without considering text or character goals). Compare with Skyrim, where the hills and rivers have a special character to them, where individual locations are distinctive from the surrounding environs.

    This can be said for dungeons and caves, too. Skyrim doesn’t have much more dungeon type variety than Oblivion did, but it is much smarter in how it uses it, to make individual tombs and ruins feel different from each other (to some extent…). It’s clear that Bethesda has gotten much smarter about its environmental and level design since the days of Oblivion, that they started considering how towns, rivers, hills, forests, oceans all fit together to form a whole with distinctive parts.

    That said, I agree it would be nice to see some more really strange and imaginative locations like Morrowind or Planescape.

    • abs1nth says:

      I agree it’s what you make of it! Using a generic fantasy setting, medieval times Europe doesn’t mean it can’t be interesting. It’s what you make of it.

      I think the difference between the two games is that based on the making of they hired level designers. ;) I will say though I hate the level design of Skyrim’s dungeons, they look good but they are painfully linear and predictable. Oh look a crossing! Hmm, which one of the two could be the dead-end with a chest? Oh a secret door that leads right to the exit, who would have thought? It also suffers the modern game design curse of diminishing the value of loot/chests by making them omnipresent.

      • Henson says:

        Well sure, Skyrim still has loads of flaws, no bones about that. The secret door leading back to the entrance is particularly bad, though I can understand why they did it. I also wonder why the Nords filled their tombs with oodles of freakin’ huge urns filled with a pittance of gold each – like, the Dragonborn has to scoop his arm all the way down to the bottom in order to scrounge a few Septims. I think I didn’t find the dungeons quite as predictable, though – like, they had certain layouts they kept coming back to, but there was enough variation that I wasn’t sure which type they were going to use until it was close to fully explored.

        In any case, the improvements are noticeable from Oblivion, especially in area design.

        • abs1nth says:

          I think their design works particularly well for smaller dungeons with the larger ones I tend to get bored of it midway. Technically almost all of the dungeons have the same layout because it’s all follow the path. They are clever about hiding that though by making you go around corners, up and down but there is still no choice in where to go. I think there’s nothing wrong with doing a dungeon that’s just one challenge room after another per se but you have to do more with it to keep people interested for larger dungeons.

          I much prefer Oblivion’s approach where dungeons were large by having different paths or sometimes even different levels (a higher and lower level). It’s funny people give Oblivion crap for saying all its dungeons are the same and then praise Skyrim because all dungeons are unique. Purely visually speaking that’s true but from a gameplay perspective it’s actually the other way around.

  29. Phantos says:

    You could have various members of the Spoiler Warning crew just record things they would normally say, and just make a soundboard.

    SHAMUS: “So what’s everyone playing this week?”

    MUMBLES: “Bees! Batman! Bees! Bees-bees-Wrestling!”

  30. rofltehcat says:

    About the review copy list/indies/Spoiler Warning topic discussed in the podcast:
    Wouldn’t some one-off episodes about indie games fit the Spoiler Warning format well? Of course it wouldn’t be enough time to finish the game and look at every single aspect of the game but it could highlight some things a game does well/badly.
    For me, watching spoiler warning is in general more about the analytical insight than about every single point in the game where AI is terrible etc. You sometimes bring up the same points in several episodes (which is perfectly fine) so after a while long seasons feel a bit monotonous sometimes.
    Putting some indie games in there as a contrast (completely different game type) and/or comparison (comparable game type but did things differently) could add some variety to it.

    Of course, examples could be:
    “this game does this much better than most AAA titles!”
    “gosh, why couldn’t that be in the new Thief?!?”
    “the use of color and simple graphics makes this game’s style look much more impressive than many other games, even with 3D graphics!”

    However, it’d probably be more work and probably not everyone would have played all the games before (which can also be interesting).

  31. Paul Spooner says:

    Man, this episode has at least a couple Uncomfortable Shamus Moments. First at 6:30, and hey, what wife DOESN’T have to put up with a lot from her gamer husband? Kind of exploitative, but also true to life. And then again at 50:00. Dark… but reflective of the source material. An entertaining observation about how badly the story in SO:TL treats its “protagonist”.

    I think what made both of them palatable to me was how genuine they felt. They weren’t something said to shock, or for effect, but just because they were interesting and entertaining thoughts. Keep on saying whatever comes to mind Shamus. That’s what we’re here for.

  32. That question about giving a game by one dev to another is a really hard good one.

    For starters, I think I would take the Homeworld franchise away from Gearbox and give it back to Relic. Although given Relic’s history with Homeworld campaigns, I’m not opposed to someone else having a shot at Homeworld 3. I just feel Gearbox acquiring it was… not good.

    I also want to take Halo away from 343 Industries (and Mircosoft) and give that to someone else, but again I just don’t know who. I’m admittedly nowhere near as knowledgeable about devs as Shamus&Co. are. You would think it would only be natural to give it back to Bungie, but after Halo: Reach, I’m not sure that’s a good idea. Not to mention they seem pretty disinterested in ever doing another Halo. They kind of pissed on Nylund’s novels with the Reach game, but they also screwed up Halo 3 beginning and ending too (admittedly, I don’t know how much of this can be attributed to Microsoft’s meddling). But perhaps above all, they seem done with the franchise–by that I mean, they seem really happy in interviews that it’s no longer on their plate. :/
    I feel like Halo would need to be handed off to someone who is really talented at making story driven shooters(given the mythos), as well as someone who is good at hinting at greater, more mysterious… well.. “sci-fi mythology” for lack of a better term. Is there even anyone who fits that bill short of the original Bungie? (And we know that’s long passed.)

    I also would love to see the Left 4 Dead guys do their style of game for Warhammer 40K Deathwing. There’s a total conversion mod that does that, but it’s incomplete and a little rough. Even so, I think it’s fantastic and want to see more.

    That’s the stuff off the top of my head.

    • Will Riker says:

      The new Homeworld game isn’t being made by Gearbox, it’s being made by an indie studio composed mostly of ex-Relic people who worked on Homeworld. They were originally working on the game Shipbreakers as a spiritual sequel to Homeworld, then Gearbox got the rights to Homeworld and then worked out a deal to let the Shipbreakers guys use the Homeworld IP.

      So, in other words…wish granted?

    • Phantos says:

      I also want to take Halo away from 343 Industries (and Mircosoft) and give that to someone else, but again I just don’t know who. I’m admittedly nowhere near as knowledgeable about devs as Shamus&Co. are. You would think it would only be natural to give it back to Bungie, but after Halo: Reach, I’m not sure that’s a good idea. Not to mention they seem pretty disinterested in ever doing another Halo. They kind of pissed on Nylund’s novels with the Reach game, but they also screwed up Halo 3 beginning and ending too (admittedly, I don’t know how much of this can be attributed to Microsoft’s meddling). But perhaps above all, they seem done with the franchise–by that I mean, they seem really happy in interviews that it’s no longer on their plate. :/
      I feel like Halo would need to be handed off to someone who is really talented at making story driven shooters(given the mythos), as well as someone who is good at hinting at greater, more mysterious… well.. “sci-fi mythology” for lack of a better term. Is there even anyone who fits that bill short of the original Bungie? (And we know that’s long passed.)

      Oh man. Don’t get me started on Halo.

      343 Industries was created specifically to do what Shamus suggested: Take a franchise from people who can’t or won’t make a game out of it(or at least a decent one), and give it to people who can. That developer was created specifically to make better Halo games than Bungie would. It’s staffed by talent culled from all over the video game industry, with the specific purpose of making a great Halo game.

      And they ended up making the series worse. They made a bigger mess than the people whose mess they were hired to clean up. There’s a biting irony in that the people hired specifically to make a great Halo game are the worst people to ever handle the franchise.

      That’s like assembling the Avengers to save New York, and then all they do is blow up Delaware.

      • Y’know, I actually ended up liking Halo 4 way more than I thought I was going to. I enjoyed the story, even though it felt like someone condensed a larger book down into something a little choppy and rushed (yet oddly well paced). I could bring up how samey the gameplay was, but it’s always been that way.

        My biggest criticism of the game was the Prometheans and their weapons themselves. My second biggest criticism (also aimed at the series overall) was the ruination of the character of Dr. Halsey, and H4’s acknowledgement of what Karen Traviss did to the character. That REALLY pissed me off. The last major criticism, I think, is how poorly developed and explained the Didact is. Unless you’ve read the Halo 3 terminals, this guys comes out of left field. And if you have read the terminals you’re wondering why he’s such a dick (and why he’s even where he is) because it makes no sense for that character. Basically, in order for Didact to make any sense, you need to have a good understanding of both the H3 terminals AAAAND you need to have read Greg Bear’s Forerunner novels to understand this is a different Didact as well as how he became the jerkwad that he is.

        I’ve been meaning to write in-depth reviews of H4’s narrative, the Prometheans, and Traviss’s Glasslands novel. But… it’s been hard.

        I remember your pre-order post. I’ll get to your review later.

        • Phantos says:

          Oh yeah! I remember your article about the Forerunner weapons, and how they’re all basically the same as the human weapons for the sake of “balance”. Which yeah, is pretty stupid considering the series constantly reminds us that Forerunner technology is supposed to be way better than what everyone else is using. A case of the obsession with multiplayer bleeding into the single-player story.

          Having played the game, I think you put a lot more thought into that than the designers did.

          (As for the Didact, I think it’s funny how when it came time to create a legitimate threat and an original character, 343i spent thousands of dollars and assembled concept artists to create… an evil glowy ball.)

          • Heh, I actually didn’t mind his Cryptum (but then, I also know what it is and what it’s for, given I know it by name). It’s more that they spread the character out over several different types of media so that you need to penetrate that mess before you can appreciate the character, let alone know who the heck he is. Also, the fact that they made him look like an evil skull sorcerer with fangs. Just, what the heck.

            And yeah, I’ve put so much thought into the Prometheans, you have no idea. I started work on at least two different, massive articles/essays on who they are, their themes, and their parallels to the Greek myth of the actual Prometheus. I’m so excited to share this stuff, but it’s just been so hard for me to write it down. I struggle with writing. Not for a lack of ideas or content, but simply just writing my thoughts onto a freaking page–that’s what gets me. :(

            But gameplay-wise, my biggest criticism of the new Promethean Knights themselves is their visual design, not the idea behind them.

  33. Kavonde says:

    Okay, since Ruts wasn’t here…

    Chris was talking about the Chomper being a large, violet-shaded carnivorous plant that specializes in devouring humanoid victims.

    It’s a giant purple people-eater.

  34. McNutcase says:

    My ideal yoink: take the Elder Scrolls away from Bethesda. Give it to Volition. Make sure it’s the team responsible for Saints Row it gets given to.

  35. Harry says:

    I don’t mind when Shamus says these things about a big faceless corporation like EA, but when he goes on about how much he hates Project Zomboid without even playing it, it kinda bums me out. It’s in Alpha and the devs have said that the cooking stuff is in a very basic stage at the moment – and besides that, it’s a tiny 4 or 5-person team that have been working faithfully on the same game since 2010 and charging a very small amount of money for it.

    I think maybe when we talk about these kinds of small teams and passion projects, we should perhaps be more thoughtful and less reactionary in our criticism than when we’re talking about the latest AssCreed or whatever. Even if we dislike a game like this, I think we should aim to say something more productive about it than “I hate it and want to punch its stupid face.”

    But that’s just a half-formed opinion, and I don’t begrudge Shamus his grumpiness too much. The way that cooking works IS stupid at the moment, but like I said – subject to change. Hardly the most egregious problem an alpha’s ever had.

  36. Henson says:

    Ooh! Here’s an idea: take Call of Duty and give it to Christine Love.

    Profit!

  37. Andrew_C says:

    You might want to update your Java though, seriously. It hasn’t been Sun Java for at least 4 years, since Oracle bought Sun out. And it’s still full of security holes.

  38. Draxom says:

    So, having lived in Pittsburgh for 10 or so years before escaping I have to say something about the food scene. There are several awesome restaurants in the Pittsburgh area, but they are all very close the Pittsburgh center city area.

    Shamus mentions he lives in an area called Butler. This(If I remember correctly) is a good deal outside of the Pittsburgh area. Before living in Pittsburgh I lived in a town called New Castle. New Castle is about an hour north of Pittsburgh and is right next to Butler and he is correct, there is nothing up there.

    So when Shamus says there are no burger joints “around here” he must be referring to the butler area(which does, in fact, have nothing), because Pittsburgh has at least one of everything that was mentioned.

    Also, the burger that everyone tells you to try if your in Pittsburgh is from the Primanti Bros.

    Best burger has to go to Aroogas(In central Pennsylvania) for their Grilled Cheese Burger Melt: Straight craziness. 2 grilled cheese sandwiches acting as a bun for our burger. Stuffed with more American cheese and applewood smoked bacon. Add on a side of bacon cheese fries and I’ll see you in the hospital.

  39. Cybron says:

    As far as fast food goes, Whataburger is great.

    I’ve never really understood why people go so nuts over In’n’Out. Never felt like anything super special to me.

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